Masters Of The Universe (Gremlin) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

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Masters Of The Universe
By Gremlin
Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #53

Masters Of The Universe

Unlike their last big 'game of the cartoon' deal, MASK, Gremlin's Master Of The Universe game is based on the newly released film of the ultimate muscle-bound hero, He-Man, and his eternal run-ins with Skeletor. I haven't seen the film, but if Gremlin's adaptation is anything to go by there isn't much of a plot.

The cosmic key to time travel has slipped through a time vortex and into the hands of an American college student who mistakes it for a musical instrument. Your task as He-Man is to recover the key, before Skeletor and his army, led by EvelLyn, can get to it first; if they do, all hell will break loose.

In order to capture the key, you must first discover eight chords which will activate it and return you to your destiny at Castle Greyskull. Some of these can be found in the streets of 'Downtown America' in which most of the game is played.

Masters Of The Universe: The Movie

The streets are viewed from above and look remarkably maze-like, but then American streets probably do. When He-Man gets to a junction the whole screen disappears and is replaced by another at 90 degrees to the original. For example, if you decide to turn left at a crossroads, the screen is replaced by another where you must travel straight up to continue in the same direction.

While you worry about which way to turn, hordes of Skeletor's soldiers appear at every corner, firing mercilessly at you. You can of course shoot back, but more and more of them appear to replace the ones you cut down. Running away might be simpler, but this massacre is in fact necessary if you are to collect all of the chords.

Just when you're getting your eye in, a message appears on the screen from one of your two companions; Teela and Gwildor, telling you that the action's all going on down at the scrapyard. Actually finding your way around Downtown America isn't too difficult as it's not all that big and a map is provided with game instructions.

Masters Of The Universe: The Movie

On arrival at the scrapyard you get involved in a beat-'em-up with two of Skeletor's evil minions, Blade and Karg. As in the rest of the game your energy is depicted on the screen by a sword meter and you have to kick the hell out of the opposition before they do the same to you. There's nothing complicated or difficult about this, and there are in fact only five options - forward, reverse, kick, punch and duck.

Then it's message time again and before you know it you're at Charlie's Electronic Store, having wasted countless minions on the way. This part of the game is a target practice shootout. The minions run across the screen and appear at doors and windows while you pick 'em off with the crosshair target. You have to kill quite a few of them before you get the next message which is to head for the rooftops aboard your flying disc.

This penultimate stage is the most disappointing part of the game, which, it has to be said, goes downhill fast from the moment the first shot is fired. The rooftops didn't look any different from the streets. In fact the only difference is that, being aboard your flying disc, it takes longer to slow down than when you are on foot. There also doesn't seem to be anything to achieve in this part of the game. You shoot about wildly for a minute then automatically go on to the final stage.

This is supposedly the ultimate confrontation. The thing is, unless you have all eight chords it's no confrontation at all - you lose - end of story. If you win? Well I'm afraid it's not much better, you must push Skeletor into a hole in the ground.

Gremlin have obviously not gone all out to make this the toughest game ever, probably so as to make it more appealing for younger He-Man fans. Unfortunately, that means there's absolutely no way it will hold any excitement for the seasoned gamer. The real trouble is that it's unimaginative and a bit dull, Gremlin will have to rely on the He-Man name to sell this one.

Ken McMahon

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